Gorka Linked To Anti-Semitic Groups During His Time In Hungarian Politics

Working as a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump is not counterterror lightweight and apparent hothead Sebastian Gorka’s first rodeo in politics.

The Forward on Friday detailed Gorka’s time in Hungarian politics in the aughts, which included trying to get a new political party off the ground alongside former members of the Jobbik party, whose leaders have been accused of stoking anti-Semitism, as well as publishing articles in a newspaper the U.S. State Department says “published anti-Semitic articles and featured articles by authors who have denied the Holocaust.”

Gorka founded the New Democratic Coalition with Tamás Molnár and Attila Bégány in early 2007, just a few months after Molnár and Bégány parted ways with Jobbik, according to The Forward. When asked about those associates’ affiliation with the far-right party, Gorka played coy.

“I only knew Molnár as an artist and Bégány as a former conservative local politician (MDF if I recall),” Gorka told The Forward. “What they did after I left Hungary is not something I followed.”

Gorka also said he wasn’t familiar with the anti-Semitic editor of the Magyar Demokrata newspaper, where he published articles from 2006-2007, and talked about his family when The Forward asked about the anti-Semitism evinced by some of the far-right groups and individuals he associated with in Hungary.

“My parents, as children, lived through the nightmare of WWII and the horrors of the Nyilas puppet fascist regime,” he told the publication in an email, referring to the Arrow Cross party that was allied with the Nazis and controlled Hungary toward the end of World War II.

The Forward noted that Gorka defended the an adopted symbol of the Arrow Cross party, the red-and-white striped Arpad flag, which dates back to medieval times, in a 2006 interview with JTA.

“If you say eight centuries of history can be eradicated by 18 months of fascist distortion of symbols, you’re losing historic perspective,” he said.

The Arpad flag, like the World War II-era admiral and statesman Miklós Horthy, who is associated with a medal Gorka wears to honor his late father‘s anti-Communist efforts, now is a popular symbol among Hungarian ultranationalists.

Read the whole thing over at The Forward.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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